Buffeted, knocked down but never knocked out, cast down but never in despair, persecuted but never forsaken, because – praise the Lord! – you have found the answer to what it takes to stand in the ministry you have received: a clear view of Jesus, in contemplation; in reflection of His glory in the midst of the battle; and then being made like unto Him as day by day your heart is lifted up to the Lord Jesus and He imparts to your life the sweetness and loveliness or His character.
January 24, 2020
Are you going through a battle today? Is your mind racing in a thousand directions as you wonder if you’ll make it through? Think back. Have you ever won a desperate battle, a prolonged battle that required all your strength and faith, a battle that you were not sure of the outcome and yet you continued to war? When the victory was finally won and the initial adrenaline-fueled elation faded, did you experience a quiet, profound peace? Remember that peace and stand on that testimony. God came through for you then and he’ll come through for you now.
Most of us are acutely aware that we live in a world at war. But the war is not over power, land or money, or even good and evil. It is over something even more basic. The war is over truth, and the battlefield is the mind of every person.
All the great temptations appear first in the region of the mind and can be fought and conquered there. We have been given the power to close the door of the mind. We can lose this power through disuse or increase it by use, by the daily discipline of the inner man in things which seem small and by reliance upon the word of the Spirit of truth. It is God that worketh in you, both to will and to do of His good pleasure. It is as though He said, ‘Learn to live in your will, not in your feelings.’
We’ll have all eternity to celebrate our victories, but only one short hour before sunset to win them.
God sometimes marvelously raiseth the souls of his saints with some close and near approaches unto them — gives them a sense of His eternal love, a taste of the embraces of His Son and the inhabitation of the Spirit, without the least intervening disturbance; and then this is their assurance. But this life is not a season to be always taking wages in; our work is not yet done; we are not always to abide in this mount; we must down again into the battle — fight again, cry again, complain again. Shall the soul be thought now to have lost its assurance? Not at all. It had before assurance with joy, triumph, and exultation; it hath it now, or may have, with wrestling, cries, tears, and supplications. And a man’s assurance may be as good, as true, when he lies on the earth with a sense of sin, as when he is carried up to the third heaven with a sense of love and foretaste of glory.
Out of suffering come the strongest souls. God’s wounded often make his best soldiers.
It is not a true Gospel that gives us the impression that the Christian life is easy, and that there are no problems to be faced. That is not the New Testament teaching. The New Testament is most alarming at first, indeed terrifying, as it shows us the problems by which we are confronted. But follow it-go on! It does not stop halfway, it goes on to this addition, this second half; and here it shows us the way in which, though that is the truth concerning the battle, we can be enabled to wage it, and not only to wage it, but to triumph in it. It shows us that we are meant to be “more than conquerors.”
The Lord is a sun: He is the Source of all light and life. to live apart from Him is death, but His fellowship is life for us. And the Lord is a shield: He protects and preserves His people from all the powers of evil that seek their destruction. He does not in this life, remove all evil and affliction from them, but He gives them grace which is sufficient unto every need. He makes us taste His goodness even in the way of adversity and makes that way subservient to our glory. Never does He withhold any good thing from those that walk in His way.